CFP: The Future of Architecture and Urbanism in the Post-COVID Age

Presented by the Epidemic Urbanism Initiative

Long before the appearance of COVID-19, the urban fabric of cities across the world had been shaped by prior epidemics. Indeed, the study of historic, global epidemics has illuminated the many ways in which urban life and architecture have changed during times of pestilence. With the outbreak of each epidemic has come new scientific understandings of disease, new modes of governing of social life and interaction, novel efforts to intervene in and prevent infection, the exacerbation of social inequities, and the creation of new occupational and social roles. Each of these outcomes has been enacted and emplaced in the built environment over time and across diverse geographies through the design or re-design of buildings and public spaces, the quarantine or redirection of goods and people, the adoption of new social roles, and the imposition of new urban design policies and practices. 

Now, almost a year into the COVID-19 global pandemic, we can take stock of the impacts of this pandemic on cities and begin to imagine a post-COVID urban landscape. These ideas in mind, for its fourth conference, the Epidemic Urbanism Initiative (EUI) seeks papers that explore the present and future implications of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Papers may be submitted for the following five tracks:

  1. Response and Experience

Papers in this category will address how urban and rural communities are experiencing or responding to COVID-19; how governments have envisioned or imposed interventions and their impact on urban communities; the ways in which communities are responding to or resisting such interventions; or artistic or behavioral responses to the disease; how the epidemic has shifted social practices and experiences in public and domestic spaces; and the future of urban institutions including museums, schools, workplaces, and city services.  

  1. Design and Interventions

Papers in this category will address the design, implementation, and experience of architectural interventions to cope with COVID-19 and its impacts; the future of technologies, scientific practices, and innovation, especially in design; the future of architectural firms; and short and long term impacts of social distancing and tele-working on urban development and architectural design.

  1. Health Equity and Social Justice 

Papers in this category will explore differential implications of COVID-19 for practices and settings of health, health care, and health promotion; how the pandemic has exposed or exacerbated social and economic inequities; how the pandemic has affected vulnerable populations, communities of color, migrants, refugees, and the elderly; how the epidemic has amplified racism across the world and the impacts of each on urban life and experience; art and design interventions to address social justice in the COVID and post-COVID era; and future priorities for social justice, equity, and inclusion in a post-COVID world. 

  1. Education and Pedagogy

Papers in this category will explore the impact of pandemics on higher education, especially in fields related to the built environment; how the pandemic has affected architectural curriculum in the short and long terms; the opportunities and challenges of remote teaching in the COVID era; and the ways in which COVID-19 has impacted the educational experience for students. 

  1. Environment and Sustainability

Papers in this category will explore the direct and indirect impacts of COVID-19 on urban and natural environments, sustainability, and environmental justice; impacts of climate change and global warming on the susceptibility of urban and rural communities to infectious illness; and human and built responses to the impacts of these ecological issues.

Submissions should be no longer than 250 words and must clearly speak to one of the above categories, be centered on a case study or a geographic location, and engage the built environment in some way. Proposals also should be forward-looking, but rooted in evidence-based and empirical observation, and could engage a range of methods including literature reviews, empirical studies, pedagogical experiments, historical research, interviews, or artistic production. We encourage submissions from across the world and from a wide range of disciplines, including but not limited to architecture, urban planning, landscape, public health, social work, medicine, art and design. Please send your proposal and a short, 2-page CV to Drs. Mohammad Gharipour and Caitlin DeClercq at by Saturday, December 5, 2020

This virtual conference is sponsored by the AIA Design & Health Research Consortium (DHRC) and will convene in late January 2021 (tentative dates: January 29th-30th; specific date to be decided in conversation with accepted speakers).